July Lawn Jobs
The main job in July is to keep your lawn green and healthy. Grass needs one inch of rain a week, so in a dry spell you have to either water it or let it go brown.
Watering with a sprinkler uses an awful lot of water and if your water supply is metered this will be expensive. It is better not to water at all than to give your lawn a few millimetres of water at a time. Put a shallow food can, tuna tin maybe, on the lawn, while the sprinkler is on. This will allow you to judge when it has had one inch of water.
Let the grass grow to two inches long, it will withstand wear better in drought conditions that way.
Avoid feeding your lawn in July, there is not enough rain to allow the nutrients to be absorbed.
Keep the edges trimmed using a vertical cut set of shears or a strimmer.
Trim around trees with shears or a strimmer,
Hedges in July
You will need to trim all hedges in July. If you are trying to grow the hedge to be higher, just give it a light trim, cutting off any bits that stick out or stick up from the rest.
If your hedge is fully grown, then trim it back to the point where all the branches start dividing. If you use hand shears, this is as far back as you will be physically able to cut it.
If you want to cut your hedge back substantially you will need to use petrol powered hedge cutters, or even an electric or petrol chain saw.
You can use secateurs for this job, but it will take you a long time and earn you many scratches.
Roses in July
Cut off any suckers, rapidly growing stems coming from the base of the plant. Suckers often have seven leaflets on each side stem. The stems or leaves may be a different color from the rest of the plant. These suckers sap the energy of the plant.
Cut off any dead flower heads, or any that have 'gone over'. Collect the dead flowers in a bucket, otherwise they spoil the appearance of the rose bed.
Cut off any buds or flowers that have rotted or turned brown. This happens when there is a lot of rain. Those buds are not going to open. All these trimmings can go in your compost.
Spray with liquid copper fungicide to prevent or minimize any black spot damage. The black spots on the leaves are a fungal infection and spread rapidly. Affected plants will not flower for 5-6 weeks after the infection is destroyed. The liquid copper is a systemic fungicide that gets into the sap, preventing new leaves and stems developing Black Spot. Any black spot affected rose trimmings must be burnt and nor added to the compost heap.
Soft fruit in July
Make sure your soft fruit is all covered by netting that is pegged down, otherwise the birds will eat all your crop. They especially love blackcurrants, eating them one by one as they ripen, whereas you want to wait until a whole clump has ripened.
Pick your blackcurrants, freeze them, as they are, until you have half a pound or so. Some people keep them to make summer pudding with when strawberries and raspberries are ready.
Pick strawberries as they ripen, protect from slugs with sharp sand, builders' sand around each plant. This will also keep your strawberries in good condition, even if they are touching the ground. Make sure they are protected from birds by covering with netting.
July Vegetable Jobs
Plant any leeks that you did not get around to transplanting last month. Make a hole in the ground using a dibber, or the handle of a trowel. Just drop one seedling into each hole. Fill the hole with water. There is no vegetable that is easier to grow than leeks.
Pick spinach and turnips. Let the turnips grow to a maximum two inches before you pull them up.
Continue to dig up your new potatoes, as you need them. Compost potato and turnip tops.
Water and feed your tomatoes. Pinch out the main shoot once four trusses of flowers have been produced.
Plant cabbage and cauliflower seeds in a seed-bed or tray, ready to transplant next month.
Put twiggy sticks in your pea patch to help support the pea plants. Pick ripe peas as soon as the peas are big enough to eat.
Keep runner beans well watered. Pick the beans as soon as they are about six inches long.
Shrubs – July Jobs
Take cuttings from softwood stems on hydrangeas, buddleia, fuchsia, spiraea and hypericum. Just stick the cuttings into a bucket of used compost. Some will grow, some won't. The ones that stay green and grow roots can then be transferred to pots of fresh compost.
Climbers – July Jobs
Keep on top of the watering, especially with clematis and any climbers you are growing in containers. Keep the base of the climber shaded if you can.
Annuals – July Jobs
Keep weeding between your marigold, antirrhinums and any other annuals you are growing. Use a hoe where you can, otherwise it's down on your knees with a trowel. Burn any weeds. The ashes can then go in the compost. The last thing you need is compost full of weed seeds.
Biennials – July Jobs
Plant parsley if you haven't already. Make sure you plant Honesty seeds where you want them to flower next year, just throw a handful of seeds on the ground. If you have honesty flowering this year, throw seeds around them now, because the seeds they are forming at the moment will start to grow next year and flower the year after. Be careful not to hoe out the growing honesty plants, they have heart shaped leaves with a serrated edge.
Perennials – July Jobs
Plant Hollyhocks now for next year. Sow the seeds individually in pots, but keep them watered. Stand the pots on a bed of sharp sand to deter slugs, slugs love hollyhocks.
Plant delphiniums now in the same way.